Understanding Higher Education Attrition in English-Medium Programs in the Arab Gulf States: Identifying Push, Pull and Fallout Factors at an Omani University

  • Yogesh SinhaEmail author
  • Thomas Roche
  • Manisha Sinha
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 15)


Attrition rates are typically higher in English-medium university programs in the Arab Gulf States than in programs offered in Arabic. This paper reports on the results of a study of academic engagement at a private regional university in the Sultanate of Oman. The longitudinal study sought to identify causes of attrition, including push factors such as financial difficulties, pull factors such as marriage or employment and fallout factors such as disillusionment and lack of academic progress. The study used a 45-item Arabic-language five-point Likert scale response key questionnaire featuring 15 dimensions of beliefs about university education with students and semi-structured interviews with a subset of students who dropped out. The first round of data collection in academic year 2013–2014 included 48 participants in the questionnaire stage, while the second round in academic year 2014–2015 included a subset of 18 questionnaire participants in addition to 18 semi-structured interviews with participants from the first stage who had dropped out. Results suggest a number of pull factors such as employment and family proximity, as well as fallout factors such as disillusionment with teaching and learning culture, were major contributors to dropout rates.


English-medium instruction University attrition rates Student beliefs PELA 



This research was supported by a grant from the Omani Research Council (Grant number ORG SU EHR 12 004). The authors would like to thank the Coordinators and Heads of the Foundation Programs at Sohar University for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sohar UniversitySoharOman
  2. 2.Southern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

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